Cyclical automatic re-enrolment – what you need to know

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As part of the pension reforms, employers must ensure their workers continue to consider how they’re saving for the future, and to periodically put eligible jobholders who aren’t already part of an automatic enrolment pension scheme, back into pension saving. This is known as ‘cyclical automatic re-enrolment’.

Employers must undertake cyclical automatic re-enrolment duties roughly every three years after their staging date.

How is it different from automatic enrolment?

Cyclical re-enrolment is broadly a repeat of the process the employer carried out during automatic enrolment.  However there are some key differences:

  • re-enrolment only applies to workers who are eligible jobholders at the cyclical auto re-enrolment date and who are not already active members of a qualifying scheme at that date;
  • postponement cannot be applied at re-enrolment; and
  • in each cycle there’s only one re-enrolment date per employer, which means they can’t choose different dates for different categories of worker.

An employer has a six-month window in which their cyclical re-enrolment date must fall.  The first re-enrolment date must fall within a six-month period linked to their staging date. The employer can select any date within this window, which starts from three months before the third anniversary of their staging date, and ends three months after that anniversary.  

For example, if an employer staged on 1 August 2015, the third anniversary of their staging date would be 1 August 2018. Their cyclical re-enrolment window would run from 1 May 2018 to 31 October 2018.  

This flexibility means an employer can plan their re-enrolment date around their business commitments and give careful thought in aligning the re-enrolment date with the pay reference period to avoid partial contributions.

The employer will need to carry out an assessment of their staff to determine if they need to re-enrol any of them on their re-enrolment date. This applies to eligible jobholders who, for more than 12 months at this date have:

  • opted out of their automatic enrolment pensions scheme;
  • stopped paying pension contributions after the opt-out period ended; or
  • reduced their pension contributions to below the minimum level set by the government.

In most cases, automatic re-enrolment will only apply to eligible jobholders who’ve already had an automatic enrolment date with that employer. 

An employer also has the option to re-enrol eligible jobholders who’ve opted out or left the pension scheme within the last 12 months, but isn’t required to do so.

There’s one fixed re-enrolment date that applies to all jobholders who are eligible; this is the date from which active membership of a qualifying scheme must begin for re-enrolled jobholders, the start date for contributions and the start date of the six-week period by which re-enrolment must be completed. 

For employers using SmartEnrol, it will guide them through the re-enrolment process alongside an in-depth online support guide.

Employers using a different auto-enrolment hub, can also access the online support guide which can be used alongside any guidance from their hub provider.

Eligible job-holders who are automatically re-enrolled will be given the opportunity to opt-out.

Employers must complete a re-declaration of compliance for the Pensions Regulator whether or not they have anyone to re-enrol.  Failure to do so or to not complete this in time may result in fines and/or prosecution.

This must be completed within two months of the re-enrolment date, or where the employer has no eligible jobholders to re-enrol, by no later than three years from the day on which the employer last provided the information to the Pensions Regulator.

How are we supporting employers?

We’re contacting employers by email, starting in December 2015, to let them know about the actions they need to take in preparation for re-enrolment and providing guidance about the more detailed aspects of the process. 

Further questions

For detailed guidance from the Pensions Regulator on cyclical automatic re-enrolment, visit new window)

For Aegon Retirement Choices (ARC) schemes, call us on 0345 608 1680 and select option 3

For all other schemes, call us on 0131 549 3000